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Couples Who Lapse, Repent Deserve Mercy

Married couples who use contraceptives in violation of Roman Catholic Church teaching can be forgiven if they repent and intend not to sin again, according to new Vatican guidelines for priests who hear confession.

Although the handbook, released Saturday, breaks no new doctrinal ground, it urges parish priests to be understanding about difficulties married couples have in trying to follow Vatican teaching.

“Especially in these times, the Church considers it to be one of her principal duties to proclaim the mystery of mercy,” concluded the document, released by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

In cases of adultery, the guidebook also urges understanding toward those who “demonstrate the desire to strive to abstain from sinning again, notwithstanding relapses.”

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